Shops at South Dakota

I am happy to see this development move forward but I have to ask, are developers paying for anything nowadays to make their profits?

“Redirection of $3 Million to Shops at Dakota Crossing Bolsters
Project’s Momentum to Attract Anchor TenantsWashington, DC – Ward 5 Councilmember Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. announced today that he has redirected $3 million from the DC Public Library’s capital budget to fund the storm water management ponds needed to move the Shops at Dakota Crossing project forward. The $3 million, from a Ward 7 project not slated to begin construction until next year, is to be repaid to DCPL in 2011. Library services in Ward 5 are not adversely impacted by the redirection of funds.

The Shops at Dakota Crossing, to be located on a 42-acre site at South Dakota and New York Avenues, NE, will include 375,000 square feet of retail. Costco has signed a letter of intent with Fort Lincoln New Town Corp. and Trammell Crow Co., the development team for the project. Other retailers that have expressed interest in the site include Target, Shoppers Food Warehouse and Staples.

In addition to the $3 million Councilmember Thomas re-directed to fund the storm water management ponds, the District is also likely to increase the project’s tax increment financing note from $10 million to $15 million. With tax revenue from Shops at Dakota Crossing expected to total $7 million annually, the financing note should be repaid within three years.

“The Shops at Dakota Crossing has been on the books for nearly a decade,” said Councilmember Thomas. “I am pleased to do my part to move this project forward and bring quality retail to Ward 5.”

Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. represents Ward 5 on the Council of the District of Columbia. Thomas chairs the Council’s Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation. He sits on four additional committees: Workforce Development and the Environment, Aging and Community Affairs, Housing and Workforce Development, and Public Services and Consumer Affairs.”

18 thoughts on “Shops at South Dakota

  1. This is the case with most development. In the burbs, municipalities almost always throw in road improvements, waste water improvements, etc.

    Right now, you have much of NE DC retail taxes going into MD/VA coffers. After the development is complete, DC will profit from taxes as much as Costco. At this point the TIF will pay off the upfront incentives, which they estimated at 3 years.

    You have to spend money to make money. I consider a TIF an investment by a government in a venture that will most certainly make a lot of money. Sounds like a great deal to me.

    1. Yeah, I know. I understand how it works and I am not against them using it. It was more of a statement of who must always take the financial risks in development. In this case, it is the libraries taking the risk. I was actually more surprised that Target was still being mentioned, as I heard that they pulled put of consideration of moving into this development. It would be great if they decided to stay.

      1. DC is risking money, sure, but the developer is risking a whole lot more than the 13 million DC is risking. I thought it was a little strange to throw in library money, but they said that it won’t impact the library operating budget and it will be repaid with the other TIF money, so I’m ok with it.

  2. Target is definitely out of the development at Fort Lincoln. It will not be coming!

    I recently read that the Target in Columbia Heights is the second busiest Target in the US. I’ve never been there. I usually go to the one in PG Plaza.

    I have no doubt, Costco at Fort Lincoln will be just as busy. It took 10 years to finally see it come to fruition.

  3. Judging by the Columbia Heights Target, I quite frankly don’t consider them the type of high-quality retailer we want. Despite the fact that Woodie’s facts would seem to indicate that the CH Target is a big money-maker for the company, Target corporate just doesn’t seem to care…it’s almost like they feel they’ve got a captive audience. Every time I go in that store it’s messy, crowded, understocked (as in, half the shelves are bare level understocked), and the employees are lazy and rude. Their Cart-o-lator never works, and the elevator line is always long and slow-moving. People consistently steal stuff, so security is everywhere and I’ve almost been run over by them chasing shoplifters a few times (one time I almost ran them over as they chased the guy into the street just as I drove by). I strongly prefer to take my business for household goods to the Bed, Bath, and Beyond across the hall, for clothing to Marshalls (seriously, that’s saying something when I prefer Marshalls to Target), and for household items to the grocery store (the ones here, not the ones there, no point in driving across town for TP). Never been to the Target in PG plaza, I usually head out to VA so that I can hit some other stores in the process, but the quality level at the Columbia Heights Target leaves much to be desired in comparison with just about any store, but especially the suburban Targets I’ve been to. Only Target worse than CH I’ve been in was Somerville, MA.

  4. Whether it’s Target, Giant, or Costco, you keep complaining. Why are you not complaining to the corporate and managerial staff at these locations? The Giant at RIA has greatly cleaned up it’s act, but it still has a way to go.

    Otherwise, you will continue to get what you don’t like. What if Target did come to Ft. Lincoln? What if Bed Bath Beyond came to Ft. Lincoln? What if Marshall’s came to Ft. Lincoln? What would Ms. D do? She would go to these Virginia shops because the selection and service is better and would do nothing but complain about the lack of quality and service at the local shops. It’s time for Ms. D to change, and for her and others to change these shops from the corporate level down.

    The Target at PG Plaza has the same level of service and selection as the Targets in Virginia. I really like the super Target near the Nissan Pavilion. But, so far, DC is Walmart-size unfriendly.

  5. Actually, I do complain to the management of these stores, a LOT. Wendell, the new manager of the Giant at RIA, knows my neighbors and I’s names and faces by heart by now. We have the direct cell phone number of the owner of the plaza at RIA. The complaining to them does little to nothing. The management of these stores do not respect the residents of the community. They think we have no better choices. Perhaps by voicing my complaints to a wider audience on a blog, others will hear and start complaining as well, and maybe then the stores will start to act like the community has standards. Right now, they act like the community should be grateful for whatever scraps are thrown their way, and one of the most effective things I can do, as an individual consumer to make it clear that that is NOT the case, it take my money elsewhere.

  6. And for the record, this is a district-wide phenomenon, not just around here. The Safeway on Capitol Hill SUCKS, I’ve already stated my opinion on the CH Target, the staff at the Ruby Tuesday in Galley Place is awful…the corporate line from many if not most major retailers is that urban dwellers are poor, trashy, and unimportant. I think this philosophy will come back to bite them in the ass rather quickly, but it seems to be true no matter what urban environment I live in, from Columbus, Ohio, to Cambridge, Mass, to Washington, DC.

    That’s why I reward the stores who provide high-quality service. That’s why I shop at Harris Teeter on the Hill and mostly independent shops otherwise. I frankly don’t shop at Target that much, but I do notice that their urban stores offer a much lower quality of products and service than their suburban stores, when I do shop there.

  7. I think a lot of times the store have a hard time finding qualified staff. That seems to be the problem at a lot of stores, the staff in city stores are more likely to be lazy and not care about doing a good job. You know, that entitlement mentality thing that only comes by living generation after generation in government subsidised housing and other programs.

    But is it bad enough that I would drive to VA just to pick up a loaf of bread? Of course not. If I’m already out there, I will pick up items though.

    City stores tend to be more crowded, I read somewhere that stores have to do more business in the city to make a profit, due to higher real estate costs. So while a Target in VA can serve 200,000 residents and be profitable, in the District one must serve 400,000. Over-served stores have issues where they tend to run out of merchandise quicker, longer lines at check outs, etc. I don’t see this changing anytime soon, and we should not want it to, unless we want DC real estate to be priced like Woodbridge, which I don’t. So a lot of this just comes with living in the city.

    I’m not like Ms D in that I have on speed dial all the managers of all these stores. It’s just not worth it to me. Everyone has battles in life, and these are battles I just choose not to fight. Though I’m thankful for the Ms D’s out there that demand better service from these stores.

  8. Thanks for the observations, Ward 5. I can see how a store in the city would have to do more business to be profitable than a store in a low land-cost area (though the tax incentives and grants provided by the city make investment a lot easier…for an example see today’s City Paper and how the new development in SE was basically offering free rent to a Chipotle, and when that didn’t work got a $900,000 grant to put in a Yes! Market). I’m certainly not saying that Giant on Brentwood should be carrying organic starfruit. Far from it, I understand that stores in the city have to cater to a wider variety of clients and have higher fixed costs than stores in the suburbs. But there are a number of low-cost, high-value things that stores in the city could do to make their customers a lot happier. For example, the cart-o-lator thing at Target. I have never once been in the Harris Teeter on Penn. Ave. SE and seen the cart-o-lator out of service, yet the Target’s has been broken every time I’ve been in there. Likewise, when I went shopping for household stuff when I bought my place, Target had only 2 or 3 ugly fabric shower curtains in stock – though there were many, empty, prongs available for other options, which could have been filled by SOMEONE included in the 12% unemployment group in DC, or they could just carry fewer varieties and stock more of them – while BB & B, right across the hall, had all their shower curtains in stock and friendly, helpful staff available to help me find exactly what I wanted. The still sucky Safeway in SE at least doesn’t have the parking and traffic problems that the Giant on RIA does, even though a few parking and traffic tickets would solve that problem right quick. And on the same rant, calling the police on the idiots who sell pirated CD’s outside would also make the store seem a lot friendlier to a not-so-sketchy crowd.

    In short, I’m certainly not suggesting that we should have EVERY retail option at the exact level of the ‘burbs, but there’s a certain level of decency and respect that I find to be missing from large urban retailers. If the social Safeway can afford to have an invitation-only champagne an caviar grand opening in an area with much higher rents, why can’t we expect smooth traffic and respectful staff in a lower-cost urban environment?

    1. Those are good points. I’m kind of irked at Safeway with how they redo the social Safeway and build that nice new store in SW, yet they let our store go decades without updates and then finally close it when the city complains about rodent infestations.

      To me, it’s like they gave the big middle finger to our whole area, which includes Brookland and areas that I would think would have demographics that Safeway would want shopping at its store. I wasn’t one of the ones protesting its closure, I think businesses have the right to operate stores where they choose, but I also choose as a consumer to not patronize their other stores.

      As far as the sketchy crowd in the Giant parking lot, have you contacted your ANC to have a crack down on illicit activity there? When I lived in Ward 6, the ANC was quite effective in cracking down on more serious illicit activity such as prostitution, drug deals, etc.

      1. We have spoken directly to our PSA lieutenant about the pirated CD/DVD “retailer” at the Giant. The sellers may have gotten busted or at least tipped off a while back, as, while they’re still there, they no longer yell at anyone and everyone walking by about buying their wares. I appreciate the improvement (especially since I work in a sensitive job and the last thing I need is to be wrongly accused of buying their wares while just walking by), but more needs to be done. I’ve been away from my ANC meetings for a few weeks due to a scheduling conflict, but I’ll ask next month if the problem persists. Along the same lines, we have noticed a marked improvement in the staff at Giant since the new manager took over. The parking situation is still a mess and we are investigating our paths to take care of this. The landlord for the building told us it’s the stores’ responsibility to enforce parking. However, the security guards (usually in full MPD uniform but not their squad cars, so probably off-duty cops, but we can’t tell which district) are THE BIGGEST OFFENDERS of parking in the fire lane, and otherwise just blow us off when we point out cars parked illegally and blocking up the flow of traffic (in certain cases it has come to our attention that the illegally parked car we point out belongs to a friend who is “visiting” the officer…wish I could have people come visit me while I’m working). We’re currently checking to see if parking enforcement can at least enforce the fire lane and handicapped loading zones, as these are laws not just policies.

        I personally think that Safeway’s decision to close the Edgewood store will come back to bite them hard in the final analysis. Once the area improves, it will be much costlier for them to come back to the community, and many people here will resent them for leaving in the first place and (hopefully) choose not to give them their business back. Honestly, I feel like Safeway is losing the grocery store battle in DC. Their stores are lackluster in many areas where better retailers exist, and their prices are too high to draw anyone away from lower-cost options (including Giant, who regularly beats Safeway on price alone). Therefore, they’ve alienated the high-end shopper by providing a low-quality product/shopping experience and the budget-conscious shopper by charging high-end prices. Also, the fact that they’ve increasingly run specials that require a minimum purchase, rather than normal sales, means that, even when they have a great sale on something, it’s not worth it to take advantage (and, as someone who tilts towards the higher-end shopping, I’ve spent way too much time digging through half-rotten produce and understocked merchandise to make it worth my while to save a little at Safeway). I used to spend maybe half of the money I spent on groceries at Safeway, now it’s more like 10% or less, 30-40% going to Giant, and the rest to Harris Teeter. Much more will probably go to Harris Teeter once they open the NY Ave. store. And that says something impressive about Harris Teeter – they’re just a regular old, run-of-the mill grocer outside of DC, but are close to the top of the pile in the city, meaning that they are specifically looking to give urban DC dwellers a high-quality shopping experience.

        More on the topic of the post, I certainly hope whoever moves into the S. Dakota location takes to heart the discussions like these going on in the community. Target in CH has not improved, in many ways, as the community surrounding it has, so I hope they don’t see the S. Dakota location as one in which they can get away with lackluster service and quality and get by. One hopes that by supporting a store it will both improve the community by drawing new residents, tax dollars, and shoppers, and provide quality service for the community as it exists and in the future. The last thing we need is to still be fighting battles to get stores up to community standards long after community standards have improved.

  9. FYI, we were just informed that parking enforcement can enforce fire lane and handicapped zone violations in private business lots. Please don’t hesitate to call 311 if someone is parked illegally in one of these areas.

    1. Are you referring to how people park in the fire lane and put their flashers on to load their groceries?

      If so, this is a city-wide phenomenon. People illegally park just about anywhere, and a simple flasher somehow justifies it.

      Good luck changing the entire city.

      1. I’m not referring to people pulling up to load/unload. While I also find that annoying boorish behavior (especially since Giant now ALSO offers assistance to your car), I’m referring to the security guards who park in the fire lane or handicapped loading zones for their whole shift, the shoppers who leave their cars AND KIDS in the fire lane while they shop, and others, like the man WASHING HIS CAR in the handicapped loading zone a few Saturdays ago (way to pick the busiest day of the week). While “standing” is also illegal in these areas, there are so many people PARKED in these areas that I don’t think standing is even possible.

  10. Just this week in front of thw Woodridge Library someone driving a van got away one too many times for parking illegally. It was good to see the huge orange “boot” locking their wheel so they couldn’t remove their vehicle with the number of fines they had accrued. This driver even had the nerve to put a “club” on their steering wheel. So, calling the city on matters like this does work. Parking enforcement is very quick to respond versus the other city agencies. This was a job well done!

    1. Sorry to catch this discussion sooo late–only 7 months later-but do any of you know whether or not there is anyone we could call to report these:
      1. littering–not a high priority or dangerous crime, but one I’d like to see a huge fine issued for, since merely hearing reports about a huge fine would probably decrease the frequency with which we in the northeast have to face the reality that we live in neighborhoods where passersby treat or sidewalks, streets and yards as open garbage bins for their immediate convenience
      2. “parking” in the right lanes of two lane streets while in our cars. I mean, you know that attitude: “Want to load something? Pull right over here in the street! Here in DC, we put other people’s lives in danger when we just want to chat with our buds on the street, or load something, or for any old reason at all. Sure it is “no parking allowed”, and a lane being used by commuters behind us, but we don’t have to care about other people’s welfare, cause its the ‘hood, and rules were made to be broken, and selfishness rules supreme here.

      I’d like to see a major crack down on the latter–the litter, though insulting, can wait. Blocking traffic lanes to stop to chat with your friends causes accidents, and marks Rhode Island Avenue and the communities of the Northeast as places where rude, selfish driving behavior is quite normal. You do not see this in all parts of the District–why is it OK here? Why is littering OK here? These are not equivalents, obviously, to property crime or violent crime, but they are very odd aspects of living here if you came from elsewhere.

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